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Body Shape Body Size

I have been thinking about this post for a long time.

Body Shape, Body size.


I think I have been avoiding it because it is so loaded. Talking about weight, shape and size is such a trigger for people, myself included. And once the surface is scratched it uncovers a vast mess of stories, opinions and ideas.

Why are we so obsessed.

So I will start with some questions.

Does someone’s shape and size affect their love, compassion, kindness and beauty?


Does someone’s shape and size make them less intelligent, less succesful, less professional?


Does someone’s shape and size make them less worthy?

So clearly my answer to all of the above questions is NO. That is not always the case for others though.

So what gives anyone the right to make comment on someone else’s shape and size?

I don’t think there is any justification in judging someones weight, shape or size.

It is quite simply rude.

So what if that judgement comes from the self?

From a young age I heard the words
‘nobody loves a fat person’ on a daily basis. I heard them because they were directed at me by my mother.

To be honest I have no memory if it affected me as a child but I know I was underweight and I know it confused me hearing my mother’s judgements and cruelty condemning anyone that she deemed to be overweight. I had never found anyone lacking because of their size. In fact all the bigger ladies within my family were (and are) abundant with love.

As I got older I questioned my own self worth as a human being because of my shape and size. Despite never being bigger than a size 10 (other than my 3 pregnancies) I spent my Teens, Twenties, Thirties and Forties listening to my mothers voice in my head thinking I was fat and therefore unlovable. This moved me in and out depression and anxiety. Stole my confidence and stopped me doing so many things.

It has taken me until in my Fifties to realise that my shape and size is irrelevant. My own Yoga practice and my work training as a Shamanic Practioner, working with other practitioners has helped me begin to heal that part of me, still a work in progress.

Also watching my three beautiful daughters growing into womanhood has been inspiring and they are my hope for the future.

My goal is to be fit healthy and love the body I have. I have made it part of my daily gratitude practice to say something nice about my body.

My feet are a little like hobbit feet but they keep me balanced and have kept me walking, dancing, running all my life.
My arms and hands are big and strong to hold all those that I love.
My belly is soft and has tiger markings from my 3 beautiful children.
My lap is big to bounce grandchildren, pet cats and keep me warm in winter.
My bottom wobbles but I no longer get sore sitting on walls watching sunsets.

Sometimes I’m just grateful my heart beats ♡

Our goal should be to be fit and strong and healthy, physically and emotionally in whatever shape that arrives in?

My mothers voice no longer echoes around my head and heart but there is sadness as I realise that this is the voice she still scolds herself with everyday.

Moving forward in my own life as a yoga teacher and a person that loves all things yoga I find it hard that a lot of the social media around Yoga and some of the classes are still based on the the idea of the perfect body and perfect pose. I hope to be one of the many teachers that are on a path to change that dynamic.

So if someone judges you on how you look, your shape, your size, tell them it’s none of their business.

If you hear yourself judging yourself, stop and try to be kind.


Ask yourself if this is your true voice? Is what you are saying true?
Really true?

Don’t spend your life feeling insecure about your shape and size because of someone else’s voice.

Find one (or two or three) beautiful things to say about yourself today. And then everyday. And learn to love your body.

I know it’s not easy but I also know whatever shape or size you are that you are an amazing human being ♡

Featured

Morning Yoga

This mornings practice was a blissful reminder of why I practice yoga AND why I practice yoga outdoors.

Do you ever wake up and just feel bleugh. No reason just a little overwhelmed physically and emotionally? That was me today.

I wasn’t even considering practicing yoga as I sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee however the sun was shining and the birds were singing and I didn’t want to be in the house.

I took my coffee outside to the decking, a space we created during the first Summer of lockdown with scrap wood that we managed to source locally. A simple structure but a beautiful space made with love.

The decking looks North out over fields and trees, usually the first field is full of sheep but the sheep have been moved away to allow the field to grow and then be cut for silage. This has left the edge of the field in front of the decking to be a wilderness of Grasses, Nettles, Sticky Willy, Pink Campion, Borage, Teasel, Wild Poppy and Buttercups alive with Bees, Hoverflies, Butterflies and many more insects.

I finished my coffee and just allowed myself to sit within all of this. After years of practice it has become natural to relax on my yoga mat once I sit on it. Always a safe place. I gently closed my eyes and began to notice.

I noticed what I could hear, the soft thrum and buzz of all the creatures around me, I noticed what I could smell, sweet pollen on the air from all of the plants around me, I noticed what I could feel, the ground beneath me, the texture of my clothes, the warmth of the sun and the cool of the breeze, I noticed what I could taste, remnants of my morning coffee. I opened my eyes and it was as if everything in front of me had intensified, colour, light, shadow. A woodpecker screeched into the tree above me and I watched it do its strange hop and climb up the tree before it flew off again. The swallows arrived as a family, new fledglings fluttering and playing, excited to be out of the nest testing their wings. One lonely cloud floated across the bluest of blue sky.

Sitting still didn’t seem to be an option any more my body wanted to be part of this alive landscape. To connect on a physical and emotional level. I began to move.

A slow playful practice evolved inspired by natures energy around me, with many resting poses and playing with my breath. Bee Breath felt so right in amongst all the buzzies and Sitali Breath was perfect for cooling down as the sun got hotter.

This is the beauty of my practice outdoors, being aware of everything around me, more aware of my physical self, more trusting and more grateful. Following my senses and my heart for what I need, not what I think I should do.

As I lay back for Savasana I sank blissfully into a dreamscape, not quite asleep but not awake. If the woodpecker had not announced his re-arrival in the tree above with an extra loud screech I could of stayed there all day.

This rude awakening made me laugh out loud and as I sat up and opened my eyes I felt so much joy and gratitude to have the time, space and place for my practice. My earlier mood shifted, gone replaced with a softness and contentedness to carry with me through my day. ♡

pink campion, green fields and blue skie ♡

Yoga and the Womens Circle

Last night was the second meeting of Honouring the Sacred Space of Creativity-Womens Circle.

There is nothing complicated or outstanding about what we do but the simplicity is what makes it comfortable.

It was a truly lovely experience sharing space and time with others.

We have a cup of tea and take 5 mins each to talk about how we are, how our week has been, how we have been since the last circle.

With the group meetings working with the new moon we set our individual intentions for the next 4 weeks. Last night setting intentions around self confidence and relationship with self.

We meditate, then move. Last night to honour the transition of Summer to Autumn we moved through a sweet Hatha flow to a cooling Yin practice, Yang to Yin.

Our Savasana is a Yoga Nidra different each week focusing on opening to creativity.

Then we close with something creative. Last night we played with clay. It’s never about the finished product it’s about playing, seeing where the mind goes. Enjoying creativity with no expectation.

Then sadly we all have to go home!

Despite all my planning I was nervous about starting this group however it already brings me joy. Seeing women come together with no agenda or pressure just finding time for themselves and a moment or two of self-care.

While my original plans to create a safe space for meditation, movement and creativity have stayed, working with and honouring others within the space has allowed the group to find its own flow. There has been an element of natural digression as we each share space with other humans and adapt to needs in that moment. What it really becomes is a listening space over and above anything else.

Listening to others, listening to oneself, listening to intuition in a safe unjudgemental space can create magic and I look forward to seeing how that magic unfolds as the circle continues ♡

Honouring the Sacred Space of Creativity

I have had an idea for a while that I would like to start a womans circle. I didn’t really know what the group would be for or what it would focus on but the notion has continued to come forward regularly. I knew I wanted it to be a support group for women but in what shape or guise that would come in I didn’t know. So at the last New Moon I set the intention that I would have figured it out by the August Full Moon.

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the female form since my last blog. The insecurities I held towards my own body for years were thankfully not something I projected onto others. In fact the female form and its function, the beauty of it, the power of it and the creativity of it is breath-taking. So why is it so hard to be a woman. Why are menstration, pregnancy, birth, perimenopause, menopause and all the natural body changes and experiences around those taboo. Why is the female life-cycle something to be whispered about or even condemned by women and men?

When I was at school (about 300yrs ago) we had a whole half an hour class dedicated to puberty, about 3 minutes of this was dedicated to periods. Three minutes in a hushed voice and no discussion after. There was no discussion about what a period was for, why and how it happened that everyone could be different. .As with most things in a woman’s life It was a one size fits all scenario left that class with the idea that I would have a lifetime of blood and pain.

I know since then the school curriculum has come a long way but even speaking with my beautiful daughters there is still a kind of loathing around periods.

And then as a cruel knock on there is the loathing that comes when that changes to perimenopause or menopause because there is a mindset that at least you had value in being fertile! Our wombs get a bad wrap no matter what they do.

But

What if we changed all of that on its head. What if we saw women as the original creators and our cycles were what gave us the power to create? and regardless of where you are in your period cycle or life cycle what if we saw the womb as a sacred space of creativity? and what if we honoured that space?

That is what I would like my group to be about. A space where we can Honour the Sacred Space of Creativity with gentle movement, yoga nidra, drumming, creativity and stories. A place to talk where the response is deep listening.

A place for all ages and stages in a woman’s life.

And that is as far as I have gotten. Does it sound good? Would you be interested? Well I am spurred on by my intentions this month and this beautiful Aquarius Full Moon so I am setting a date for Sunday 28th August at 7pm -9pm. I realise this is just a fortnight away but sometimes short notice is good.

Then each month on the following dates.

Sunday 25th September

Sunday 23rd October

Sunday 20th November.

Details -It will be a small group 8/10 people max.

Cost – £15 per session

Please get in touch if you are interested as this will be by booking only.

Love and Light ♡

Aquarius Full Moon over the Mediterranean ♡

Return to the yoga mat

Hello, how are you? Do you fancy a yoga class?

I do and here is why.

It has been too long since I have practiced with a group and I miss it. I miss the anticipation I feel before the class, I miss the nervousness of meeting new people, I miss the excitement of moving through breathwork and poses. I miss seeing the calm and relaxation in rested faces after savasana. I miss sharing my practice in a way that helps me and others

So as of the 24th of August I will be returning to teaching at The Scout Hut in Newport on Tay. On a Wednesday and a Friday morning.

Classes will start at 9 am and be 75 mins long.

Wednesdays class will be for complete beginners, no experience necessary. Slow and gentle movement introducing your body to yoga and breathwork.

Fridays class will also be suitable for beginners but will be slightly more active (really not much more as I love the slow pace) where options will be given for all abilities and body types.

Questions clients have asked in the past

What if I can’t do the pose?

If you read my blog you will know I am not a pose grabber. For me the pose is the least important part of the practice the real work is in the little movements and breath that prepares the body for the pose.

What if I get tired/sore during class?

This shouldn’t happen as classes will be slow and gentle but I have had clients in the past that come into a comfortable resting pose for a few minutes (and once for the whole class!) This is your safe place and there is no should or have to. It’s about listening to your body and doing what feels right.

Do you do touch or do adjustments in class ?

I do not do adjustments, your mat is your safe space. My own experience of being at a class and have someone try move my body into a position that I was not ready for was not a good one. (have I done a blog on this topic? If not I probably should!)

What do I wear?

Anything that is comfortable and easy to move in. Maybe a couple of layers so you can remove a layer if you get too hot. There is no need for anything fancy.

What do I need to bring?

I have most things that you will need blocks, bolsters, straps etc However if you have your own mat you are welcome to bring that but if not or you forget yours there are some spare.

Are the classes busy?

I like to keep my classes small 8/10 people max. The most important thing for me is the space I provide for clients to explore. Explore their own body and mind and emotions through breathwork and movement. To take a step away from hustle and bustle and look inward.

Do you still teach outdoors?

Occasionally classes will be held outdoors on the grass outside the Scout Hut (weather dependent) giving us a chance to connect to nature and the elements.

How much do classes cost and how do I pay?

Classes can be booked as a block of 4 for £36

Or Paid each week at £10 a class

Both by cash or PayPal

If you think this class might be for you but you still have questions send me a message.

or

If you think this class might be for you but are not sure, send me a message and we can chat it through.

or

If you think this class is not for you send me a message and tell me why.

How quickly a year passes

My last blog was last May. How quickly a year passes. Its not been the best year if I’m honest. 2021 started with good health and the best of intentions… mainly a challenge to raise money for a different charity every month but also to live my best life regardless but also hoping to progress my Yoga training and restart Yoga classes. Everything was going swimmingly, I was using my health and fitness to raise money by cycling, walking, running etc and was preparing to head back into teaching…loving life despite the chaos of Covid. What changed? I got my first Covid vaccination.

My first vaccination hit me like a tonne of bricks. I was instantly ill. My temperature spiked, I had ringing in my ears and a head ache where I could barely move my head for pain and nausea. By nighttime I could hardly move with pain all over. I felt like I was on fire one minute and frozen the next and then there were hallucinations. This intensity lasted 5 days and then it gradually calmed, lulling into a string of headaches, temperature fluctuations, body pains, exhaustion and a chorus of other weird symptoms that continued for a further 6 months. Any boosters exasperated the symptoms so any slight recovery was sent backwards. In the last year I have hardly taught any classes. Barely managing my own yoga practice never mind the joy of teaching or any of my other loves like walking, cycling or swimming.

Each time I thought I was beginning to get back to some kind of reality I got ill again and this perpetual attack on my immunity left me open to get everything else going. At the same time my body was moving into Peri-menopause and where perhaps I could of coped with the changes I was going through (heavy bleeding, mood swings, bloating, hot flushes etc) on top of everything else my body gave up. Just before Christmas I ended up in hospital anemic and broken.

It has been a long path since then. If I led the kind of life where I could just re-cooperate perhaps it might of been easier but who has that! With a big family to love and feed and support and with normal family things that happen or go wrong…there is always drama or maybe that’s just my family? Don’t get me wrong though I have taken time to sit, watch the flowers grow and listen to the birds sing and here I am now writing this finally feeling like I’m coming out of the other side…a year later.

I am not rushing back to teach as there have been a few false starts where I have spoken too soon but I genuinely feel like there is a change in the air. Obviously I still have to traverse the minefield that is Peri-menopause but I am hopeful and my health and fitness are heading in the right direction. Where that takes me I don’t know. Nothing is set in stone. I am just so very grateful to have progressed this far.

N.B -I didn’t want this post to be about how ill I was it is more about how much can happen (or not happen) in a year. From being so happy, fit and energetic to days where I was really low because I truly did not feel like myself and did not like myself. Days where I wondered if there was ever going to be a change or if I could get my strength back physically and emotionally and now back to feeling stronger and ready for something new. Everything changes …sometimes quickly, sometimes it takes time. I recently watched a YouTube clip from an interview with Tom Hanks and several other actors.(watch it here) His was talking about his philosophy of ‘this too shall pass’. Nothing is permanent. It resonated with me and I have definitely learnt to enjoy the little moments more.

May _ Mental Health Month

I might of mentioned a few times that I’m going to be 50 this year and as part of those celebrations I have started a year of fundraising. Supporting 12 charities over 12 months. So far, I have run, walked, cycled and now I’m going to do what I’m good at…Yoga

May is Mental Health Month and charity I have chosen to support is Mental Health Foundation Scotland

What is Mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

MentalHealth.gov

Mental health impacts everyone. When our mental health is good life is easier. When our mental health is under strain /stress life can feel overwhelming in many different ways such as mood swings, Insomnia, Anxiety, Depression etc if left unaddressed it can manifest in more extreme ways.

I am not an expert so I’m not going to go into much detail however I am going to come at this from my own experiences of mental health as something that I used to feel uncomfortable speaking about but now hope that by sharing it may help someone else.

As a small child I used to take most things in my stride but as I started school I became anxious about daily life. School, friendships, games, going places, meeting people all became overwhelming. Home also changed at this time and became a place that I did not understand and where I could not talk or express how I felt. So I spent a lot of time alone as this was easier than dealing with feelings and emotions that arose. These feelings have traveled through life with me. There have been periods of time being ok and points where I really should of asked for help. It is only in the last 10 years that I have begun to address them, while still finding talking about myself and how I feel a difficult thing to do.

But talking about is what we need to do.

We need to take a big step away from the Victorian ideal that feeling insecure or scared is a weakness,that to ask for help, support, advice, love makes you less of a person.

If you are having feelings or emotions that overwhelm, if you are insecure or unsure, please talk to someone. If the first person doesn’t understand try again and again. If you cant talk to friends or family there are many groups you can contact online or in person. Really asking for help is the hardest part but there is someone out there who understands.

Over the next month I will post links to various groups, websites, resources etc if you have any questions please ask.

This years theme for Mental Health Awareness week (10th – 16th May) is ‘Nature’

I love this because nature and being outdoors has always been a safe place for me. It is so resilient it can be found everywhere even in the busiest city. Nature somehow makes us feel better. Whether we are bird watching, walking, gardening for veggies or flowers, hugging trees or simply sitting in the sun, nature has a way of soothing our emotions.

Over the week of 10th – 16th May I will do a live daily outdoors yoga practice to share via Instagram and Facebook. I will also be posting sessions on mindfulness and meditation. You are welcome to join me live or you will be able to access the videos later in your own time

All classes will be free however if you feel inspired please donate and help with research and fight the stigma of Mental Health.

It’s March already!

Time is flying fast this year. Snowdrops and daffodils are blooming, the sun is trying to shine but its still pretty cold out there. I have been outside most days for my yoga practice but there are still some days where I enjoy the comfort of the central heating! Plus I am spending a lot of other time outdoors.

As I mentioned in my last blog I am 50 this year and to celebrate I challenged myself to do 12 charity fundraisers over 12 months. In January I walked/ran 56 miles for Maggie’s Fife. In February I walked 10,000 steps a day for ‘Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs’. This month I am cycling 250 miles for Sands. The rest of the year is still in planning(excited).

All of these challenges have been brilliant so far. I have loved doing them.

Due to Covid-19 the last year has been hard for everyone, emotionally and spiritually, and I know I am not alone in saying I have felt a complete lack of focus and interest in my work and life. So to be able to put myself out there to support something else, something worthy has really helped get me through the beginning of this year and I am looking forward to seeing how the 12 months pans out.

The support and sponsorship I have had from family and friends has been amazing but I do realise not everyone is in position to give, especially not to 12 different charities over a year, when they are furloughed, on less pay, less hours or not working at all. Am mostly grateful of the awareness that is being brought to each of these worthy causes. Some smaller charities literally rely on 3 or 4 members of staff who are trying to do their work and fundraise which during Lockdown has been made impossible.

So whether you feel like sponsoring me or are just liking my posts both are amazing and I am very grateful for your encouragement and support.

Yoga in 2021

Its 2021! Im sitting here late on a freezing Friday afternoon having just finished my 200 hrs Yin Yoga Teacher Training. Hurrah!!! I was unsure how it would be learning online but as always Dhugal Meachem, my teacher for Hatha and Yin, prepared an amazing class. Am so excited, happy and grateful to have completed the course given the circumstances at the moment. Not only was it interesting and fun but have met so many beautiful amazing people also on the course. Feeling more confident in all aspects of teaching I am now looking forward and planning how to bring this to my clients. Not so easy when no-one really knows what is happening with Covid and social-distancing.

However it is important to look forward enough to see the world returning to some kind of normality. My main goal is to continue teaching outdoors and am looking forward to having classes at the beach, in the woods and at park. Also returning to a regular class the local Scout Hut when we can.

My other goals this year include furthering my Yoga education with a teacher training course in Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga. Another anatomy based course which means I will as always be teaching from the view point that everyone is different physically in our proportions, in our bone structure and this makes a huge difference in understanding why we all can’t do all the poses….its good to be different.

One of my other interests has been my allnewgreenlife work as much as there never seems to be enough time for two projects it is becoming more and more important that we all do our bit to protect the environment. This website/blog is a work in progress with my own green journey and some hints and tips to on how to make make a difference. You may find the greeness slipping into this website and social media as the two lifestyles are not so far apart. Any green ideas to share? message here or on allnewgreenlife.

This year I turn 50! so have challenged myself to do something for a different charity each month. This month I am doing the Maggies 50 Mile Challenge which has been amazing at motivating me to exercise and inspiring me with stories and updates from other participants. With 29 miles done and 21 to go am thinking I will try go further than 50 miles in the hope of maybe raising a little more money!

And thats it, its not a huge plan for this year but as I said we are not sure where the world is going so right now I just need to have some hopes and dreams but not get stuck in the logistics. Other than this I will be baking, drawing and painting while looking forward to Spring where hopefully we can all spend time with family and friends.

What are your plans for 2021? What are you looking forward to? Hopes, dreams, holidays? Whatever it is have faith that we will all get there one day at a time.

What have I been doing!

Today I finished my third week of Yin training. The first two weeks were pre covid and in person so it was interesting to see how it would work via Zoom. Surprisingly for me (not so tech minded) it was great. Quite simple to use the online format and just as informative, educational and supportive as the previous training. 

It was also really nice to focus on one thing over a few days. Studying anatomy, philosophy, meditation and practicing Yin yoga has been blissful. Plus I got to meet a whole new lovely Yoga Tribe.

The only downside was being indoors.

As you will have noticed since Covid began I have meandered into the background. With very few blogs and FB posts. The last few months could have been a perfect opportunity for me to push forward with my online presence but (despite my enthusiasm towards my training online) teaching via Zoom didn’t feel right.  

What I have been doing is building on my outdoors practice. 

It’s been a daily experience of beaches, hills, woods, sunrises and sunsets. (check out my Instagram). Come rain or shine I have been outside. 

The difference between yoga indoors and yoga outdoors is profound. Yoga is always lovely, studios can be beautiful and relaxing but outdoors removes all boundaries while being physically connected to the natural elements and the natural world.

To feel the earth between your toes, 

the rain on your face, 

the heat of the sun on your back, 

a warm breeze or a cold wind.

To gently watch the seasons pass. 

Practicing with a chorus of Blackbirds, Robins, Wrens, Thrushes.

Being laughed at by Crows and whistled to by Buzzards,

To watch Deer graze, Squirrels play and hear Foxes bark. 

While moving through sunrise sun salutations and moonlit lunar flows. 

It’s not all glamorous, I have been soaked by rain, slipped in mud and even been sunburned through Factor 50 but it is all part of the joy.

Being outdoors has helped me cope through 2020.

If there was any doubt about where my practice and classes were going for 2021 the last 5 days ‘online training indoors’ has made me realise it will be outdoors all the way, with some exceptions in extreme weather.

Hopefully by the New Year there will be the opportunity for you to come join me outdoors in small personal classes. If you’re interested please feel free to message about group or private sessions.

Below is a photograph from my online training with Dhugal Meachem. If you are interested in learning either Hatha or Yin yoga I would highly recommend his trainings